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Barter Aids Startups, Regardless Of One�s Business

An incredible 55% of last year�s business startups opened their doors with $10,000 or less in capital, underscoring the fact that undercapitalization is the norm for the new business owner.

For the knowledgeable entrepreneur, whether new or experienced, the use of barter can play a significant, positive role in getting a business of the ground. Here�s a story about how one company used barter to build and expand its operations.

Chris Lindland and Enrique Landa, the co-founders of San Francisco-based Cordarounds.com, launched their firm in the fall of 2004.

Their online corduroy-pants business was opened with $8,000 between them. Couple some money with a large amount of desire and creativity, and some pretty amazing things can happen.

In a short period of time they�ve not only sold 3,000 pair of pants that retail for $66 to $88 each, but they�re in the black, without any debt, according to Lindland.

The two have kept their overhead to a minimum through the use of barter, convincing others to provide needed services for pants. Web design work, for example, was obtained by trading pants and several home-cooked meals. The balance, approximately 10% of the bill, was in cash.

This fall the company has scheduled ads in the Harvard Lampoon in exchange for 35 pairs of pants. The owners, both in their twenties, astutely traded with yet another group, which, Lindland exclaims, �needed us almost as much as we needed them.� Who might this group be?

It is business-school prospects, a hungry group of students looking to spruce up their job applications. �They will work hard and work for less so they can list Cordarounds as part of their business experience,� explains Lindland. 

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